that a force moving by that road might capture the force holding Blue Bird Gap. The southern or upper part of the cove is reported clear of rebels.
Turchin's brigade, of Reynolds' division, started at 2 p. m. to-day to reconnoiter Catlett's Gap. I have not received any report from him yet; will forward it as soon as received.
I propose to make my headquarters at Alley's, about half way between Gower's and Bird's Mill, to-morrow night.
Inclosed I forward reports from deserters for the information of the general commanding. The courier line is established between here and General Mitchell's headquarters.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
PROVOST-MARSHAL'S OFFICE, 14TH ARMY CORPS, Stevens' Gap, September 16, 1863.
Colonel G. E. FLYNT,
Colonel and Chief of Staff:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that 3 deserters came in today from the Forty-fifth Mississippi Infantry, Wood's brigade, Cleburne's division, Hill's corps. They report that they left Dug Gap last evening at 8 o'clock; that Dug Gap is blockaded by felled trees; that one brigade is in the gap, and the balance of Cleburne's division is at Pigeon Mountain, on the other side of the gap; that the transportation is at La Fayette; that yesterday a detail was sent to La Fayette for rations; that three days' rations were issued.
I remain, colonel, your obedient servant,
J. G. PARKHURST,
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
HDQRS. 14TH ARMY CORPS, INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S DEPT., Crawfish, September 16, 1863.
Statement of F. J. McKinney, Walker's escort, deserter: I left La Fayette on last Friday evening, at which time Bragg's headquarters were at that place. It was reported among the men at General Walker's headquarters that Bragg had 80,000 men. It was the talk that Lee had sent one corps of his army to Bragg, and that most of Johnston's army had arrived and were arriving. Bragg's army was said to be at La Fayette, Ringgold, Rome, and the surrounding country. The army was in poor spirits; considerable confusion among them. The army is on quarter rations. The country about Rome is very poor. Most of the forage has been consumed. Two months ago the escort numbered 100 men. They had all deserted but 15 when I left, and thrown away their arms.
SIGNAL STATION AT STEVENS' GAP, September 16, 1863-9 p. m.
Acting Signal Officer in Charge:
A squad of rebel cavalry, about a regiment, I saw come up the Chickamauga Creek to Blue Bird Gap, and go down the Valley road